The other evening I went to a small martial arts training hall. I sat at the table as an instructor and watched a group of students demonstrate their recently learned skills.
My job, with another instructor, was to score that skill set. And decide if the students testing should move on to the next level. To learn more.
There was one child. About ten. Female. She joined this class quite some time ago. And to be honest, her ability to execute the techniques is not stellar. Not even ‘good’ sometimes. But I kept watching her. All through the test.
I watched her trying something that is not exactly easy for her. Her skill level is not great. But it’s better than it was three months ago. And better than it was six months ago. And better than it was twelve months ago. I need to not forget the skill she walked in the door with a few years ago.
Her skills are better.
Her skills are going to get better yet.
She made mistakes in the test. She lost her way a time or two. But she never, not once, made an excuse. Or gave up. Or stopped. She went on.
When she was placed with a higher skilled student she responded and tried to match her skills to that student.
When she wasn’t sure of what to do she kept going.
When she couldn’t “do” what she needed to “do” she did not give up.
Her beautiful little face was set. Her eyes watched us when we showed her. Her ears listened when we told her. Her hands and feet tried over and over again to do what was needed to do.
She’s only ten. She hasn’t fully realized her mental or physical abilities yet. Right now she is still “doing” martial arts. She hasn’t yet acquired the understanding of what she is fully capable of doing.
What she does have, at such a young age, is determination. She just keeps doing. Trying. Listening. Watching.
She does not think she ‘can’t’. She does not know that giving up is an option. She doesn’t think with “doubt”.
She just does.
There are some things we cannot teach or give one another.
Her determination is part of the foundation of her capacity, her capability. I didn’t give it to her. I can’t teach it to her. It’s hers.
All, completely, powerfully hers.